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of his creditors, his agent declared, that after deducting 60001. a year settled on Ste*, and a decent provision for his old age, the residue of his wealth amounted to no more than 90,0001. The creditors stared, till Mr. Powell declared that he owed every thing to the noble lord ; that he happened to have 50,0001. in long annuities, and begged that he might be permitted to supply the deficiency. How generous !
Yet there are people who say the money only stood in his name. My brother Ste's son is a second Messiah, said Charles the other day. How so? Because born for the destruction of the Jews.
MR. GIBBON TO MRS. GIBBON.
London, August, 1775. Will you accept my present literary business as an excuse for my not writing? I think you will be in the wrong if you do; since I was just as idle before. At all events, however, it is better to say three words, than to be totally a dumb dog. Apropos of dog, but not of dumb: your Pomeranian is the comfort of my life ; pretty, impertinent, fantastical, all that a young lady of fashion ought to be. I flatter myself that our passion is reciprocal. I am just at present engaged in a great historical work ; no less than a History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; with the first volume of which I may possibly oppress the public next winter. It
* Lord H.'s eldest son.
would require some pages to give a more particular idea of it; but I shall only say in general, that the subject is curious, and never yet treated as it deserves; and that during some years it has been in my thoughts, and even under my pen. Should the attempt fail, it must be by the fault of the execution. Adieu, dear madam, believe me most truly yours.
MR. GIBBON TO MR. HOLROYD.
Bentinck Street, Jan. 18th, 1777. As I presume my lady does not make a practice of tumbling down stairs every day after dinner, by this time the colours must have faded, and the high places (I mean the temples) are reduced to a proper level. But what, in the name of the great prince, is the meaning of her declining the Urban expedition ? Is it the spontaneous result of her own proud spirit? or does it proceed from the secret machinations of her domestic tyrant ? At all events, I expect you will both remember your engagement of next Saturday in Bentinck Street, with Donna Catherina, the Mountaineer (Hon. General Simon Fraser), &c. Things go on very prosperously in America. Howe is himself in the Jerseys, and will push at least as far as the Delaware river. The continental (perhaps now the rebel) army is in a great measure dispersed, and Washington, who wishes to cover Philadelphia, has not more than six or seven thousand men with him. Clinton designs to con
quer Rhode Island in his way home. But what I think of much greater consequence, a province made its submission, and desired to be reinstated in the peace of the king. It is indeed only poor little Georgia; and the application was made to Governor Tonyn, of Florida. Some disgust at a violent step of the Congress, who removed the President of their Provincial Assembly, a leading and popular man, cooperated with the fear of the Indians, who began to amuse themselves with the exercise of scalping on their back settlements. Town fills, and we are mighty agreeable. Last year, on the queen's birth-day, Sir G. Warren had his diamond star cut off his coat; this day the same accident bappened to him again, with another star worth seven hundred pounds. He had better compound by the year. Adieu.
MR. GIBBON TO MR. HOLROYD.
Paris, June 16th, 1777. I TOLD you what would infallibly happen, and you know enough of the nature of the beast not to be surprised at it. I have now been at Paris exactly five weeks; during wbich time I have not written to any person whatsoever within the British dominions, except two lines of notification to Mrs. Gibbon. The demon of procrastination has at length yielded to the genius of friendship, assisted indeed by the powers of fear and shame. But when I have seated myself before a table, and begin to revolve all that I have seen and
tasted during this busy period, I feel myself oppressed and confounded; and I am very near throwing away the pen, and resigning myself to indolent despair. A complete history would require a volume, at least, as corpulent as the Decline and Fall; and if I attempt to select and abridge, besides the difficulty of the choice, there occur so many things which cannot properly be entrusted to paper, and so many others of too slight a texture to support the journey, that I am almost tempted to reserve for our future conversations the detail of my pleasures and occupations. But as I am sensible that you are rigid and impatient, I will try to convey, in a few words, a general idea of my situation as a man of the world, and as a man of letters. You remember that the Neckers were my principal dependance; and the reception which I have met with from them very far surpassed my most sanguine expectations. I do not indeed lodge in their house (as it inight excite the jealousy of the husband, and procure me a lettre de cachet), but I live very much with them, and dine and sup whenever they have company, which is almost every day, and whenever I like it, for they are not in the least exigeans. Mr. Walpole gave me an introduction to Madame du Deffand, an agreeable young lady of eighty-two years of age, who has constant suppers, and the best company in Paris. When you see the duke of Richmond, he will give you an account of that house, where I meet him almost every evening. Ask him about Madame de Cambis. I have met the duke of Choiseul, at his particular request, dined by
accident with Franklin, conversed with the emperor, been presented at court, and gradually, or rather rapidly, I find my acquaintance spreading over the most valuable parts of Paris. They pretend to like me, and whatever you may think of French professions, I am convinced that some at least are sincere. On the other hand, I feel myself easy and happy in their company, and only regret that I did not come over two or three months sooner. Though Paris throughout the summer promises me a very agreeable society, yet I am hurt every day by the departure of men and women whom I begin to know with some familiarity, the departure of officers for their governments and garrisons, of bishops for their diocesses, and even of country gentlemen for their estates, as a rural taste gains ground in this country. So much for the general idea of my acquaintance; details would be endless, yet un: satisfactory. You may add to the pleasures of society those of the spectacles and promenades, and you will find that I lead a very agreeable life ; let me just condescend to observe, that it is not extravagant. After decking myself out with silks and silver, the ordinary establishment of coach, lodging, servants, eating, and pocket expenses does not exceed sixty pounds per month. Yet I have two footmen in handsome liveries behind my coach, and my apartment is hung with damask. Adieu for the present: I have more to say, but were I to attempt any further progress, you must wait another post; and you have already waited long enough, of all conscience.